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Art: Elizabeth Ann James, Columnist
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Jan Richardson-Baughman's Mingus V
Jan Richardson-Baughman will be featured at Kathryn Gallery, 642 N. High St., through November 2007. Her mixed media series “Mingus” will slide and glide, not explode, on the walls during her show. The artist’s father is an architect. She states that she grew up surrounded by line and shape and that when creating a piece, she visualizes the lines and colors as a “poem in motion.”
Richardson-Baughman earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Central Michigan University and a master’s in ceramics from Indiana State University in 1977. After graduation she taught at the college level and began sculptural work in ceramic. In recent years, she has branched out into two-dimensional work, mixed media, collage being a favorite genre. Her “Mingus” mixed media series is muted in palette and exemplifies the artist’s love of geometry and form. Many of her “architectural” paintings will be featured in the November show.
Mingus V is a big painting, 42 x 28 inches framed. The jazz musician and composer Charles Mingus was a big guy. At least he looks big in his photos! Perhaps Richardson-Baughman was listening to the intricacy of a Mingus “concerto” when she used lines, muted colors, and a few scratches and scrapes toward the bottom of this mixed media. The piece is divided into three or four sections.
Mingus was a formally trained guy who broke free. He liked Debussy. Debussy’s imagined greens, blues, and stained tan-golds have drifted in from tone poems. Some of the paint may have been applied by a palette knife, yet one would not describe this piece as textural. A big gold doughnut, like a circle, an Om or the bell of the sax, the horn, floats against bleached lime-blue at the top segment. Below that, a long rectangle of muted blues, greens, and scrapes. A third segment is sand-white with an adjacent corner of dark, rich blue brushed with black and green.
The artist’s “Mingus” series is architectural, decorative, and meditational. The three works currently in the gallery could blend beautifully into a triptych. In Mingus III, the circle is green. Gold and roseate hues combine with sand tones. There’s a dark segment. Again, the painting has been divided into “movements.” The artist likely listens to music while she paints.
We look forward to seeing more of her work which tends to be understated and pleasing. She understands balance. Her own artist’s statement reveals that she is married to an artist and that the two of them are living an idyllic existence on a small horse ranch farm. “They work together every day, and for them it is the perfect partnership because they compliment each other so well.”
Charles Mingus was born in 1922 and died in 1979. Classically trained on the bass he understood every instrument and eventually taught himself to read and write music. He became the jazz man’s jazz man. Baughman-Richardson’s series – its lines and circles – suggests the sound, the strums, the strings, the horn, the lip, the pot of coffee with doughnuts, man.
Maternitat, Een El Poble, by Alvar Sunol Munoz-Ramos
Alvar, and international star
Alvar Sunol Munoz-Ramos was born in 1935 in Montgat, Spain, a Catalan fishing village on the Mediterranean coast near Barcelona. He started painting when he was 12, and at 18 he won the grand prize in a competition for the Young Painters of Barcelona. That painting is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona.
Alvar became a graduate of and a primary award winner at Escuela Superior de las Bellas Artes de San Jorge. As he continued to work and win awards, he also met Juan Fuentes, director of the noted Parisien Galerie Drouant in Paris, and his career flourished internationally. His lithographs nearly outdistance his paintings, and an exhibit of his lithographs will be shown at Kathryn Gallery in November. The Kumamoto Museum and the Fukoka Museum, both in Kyushu, Japan, have purchased his lithographs for their permanent collection.
Alvar Sunol Munoz-Ramos' Concierto De Amanecer
One of Alvar’s lithographs honoring traditions, was exhibited at Kathryn’s in October. It is Maternitat, Een El Poble or Motherhood (suggesting the holy birth). As seen from the waist up, these three large women are familiar. One large supernatural arm curves around them. Their massive faces in profile and their hejab-like scarves allow them to resemble classical statuary. This was originally a line drawing, and it remains a graceful line drawing. The artist has incorporated (not affixed) white embossed paper and other fabric designs into his lithograph and that is extraordinary.
In an upper corner we see “adobe” walls and towers of a brown and orange church, a small “cathedral” that is definitely Spanish. Alvar brings tradition to life. His lithographic “Concerto” series depicts seasons and festivals and looked spritely and fairy tale-like on the gallery Web site. Concerto De Amanecer is bright and happy. In it, hooded children, a violin, and flutes as narrow as paper straws, all dance on a miraculous wind!
In 2001, Alvar: Thirty Years of Lithograhy, a book chronicling the lithographic creations of Alvar was published. The Albany Museum of Art in Albany Georgia is showing a retrospective Alvar Sunol: Contemporary Renaissance throughout November.
Kathryn Gallery’s lithographs are first-class. Alvar continues to create art in the mediums of oil, lithography, watercolor, bronze, ceramic bas relief and precious metal sculpture. He’s a man for all artistic seasons.
I must say, Jaline Pol dominated the gallery walls in September and October, and she’s still a powerful presence at Kathryn Gallery. Whenever I see her big bright oil-on-canvas flowers I feel like dancing. Pol’s large strokey bright flowers – roses, irises, and tulips – are gorgeous. They seem to emerge from the canvas. Textural doesn’t describe them. The artist loves reds – yellows and blue-whites come second. She titles her paintings A Profusion In Profusion and Perfume of Excitement, and Beautiful, like Vermillion Fruit!
Janine Pol grew up in Normandy and, although formally trained, she taught herself to use the palette knife, and I’m glad! She flew in from France for the September 21 opening. I hear that she looked great in a contemporary version of “the little black dress” and charmed everyone. The winter blues will vanish from any spacious wall when there’s a Janine Pol on it.
Michael John Hill’s large sun-filled canvases are carried by the gallery. Hill paints big (like huge) tranquil landscapes of the English countryside around Surrey. He is a tall handsome guy and a power painter. I hope he returns to stand in front of his wide tall paintings. His manipulation of light is magical.
The paintings at Kathryn Gallery are marvelous and upbeat. It’s a beautiful space. The majority of the canvasses are original paintings. Some are superb reproductions, glycee. Be sure to ask if you want to know for sure.
Kathryn Gallery is located in the Short North at 642 N. High St. Hours are Tues. through Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun. noon to 5 p.m. Call (614) 222-6801. Visit www.kathryngallery.com
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